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Parasite Rex (with a New Epilogue): Inside the Bizarre World of Nature'sMost Dangerous Creatures Paperback – 10 Oct 2001
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Michael Harris Los Angeles Times A model of liveliness and clarity...a book capable of changing how we see the world.
Kevin Padian The New York Times With Parasite Rex, Zimmer proves himself as fine a science essayist as we have.
Mark Ridley The New Scientist A nonstop delight...Zimmer is a colorful writer, and takes full advantage of the macabre natural history of parasites.
Susan Adams Forbes Zimmer is such an accomplished, vivid writer that he is able to weave these revolting beasts into an engrossing story that you will read to the last page.
For decades parasites were the pariahs of science. Only recently have biologists begun to appreciate that these diverse and complex organisms are the most highly evolved life forms on earth. In this work, Carl Zimmer takes the reader on a tour of the strange and bizzare world that parasites inhabit, and recounts the voyages of these wonders of creation. Parasites can: rewrite DNA; rewire the brain; genetically engineer viruses as weapons; and turn healthy hosts into the living dead. This book follows researchers in parasitology as they attempt to penetrate the mysteries of these omnipotent creatures who control evolution, ecxosystems, and perhaps the future of the human race.See all Product description
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The author resists the temptation to go for the "yuck factor" and writes about the subject matter in a thoughtful and considered manner. He introduces the reader to some of the parasitologists currently working in this particular discipline and shows how their work is revealing not only the complexity of the life cycles of many parasites but also how they may be vital for the well being of many ecosystems, how they have helped drive the evolution of their hosts and even how they may be, in some circumstances, beneficial to the immune systems of their hosts.
Overall, this is an excellent insight into this much overlooked area of biology that is really well written and very accessible. I studied parasitology briefly at university and had forgotten what a truly fascinating subject it is - thanks to Carl Zimmer for the reminder!